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Residents rally for Toronto tenant facing eviction who was set to be removed by sheriffs

Click to play video 'Neighbours rally to prevent eviction of Toronto tenant' Neighbours rally to prevent eviction of Toronto tenant
WATCH ABOVE: Neighbours rallied around a resident of an East York apartment building just as sheriffs were about to enforce an eviction order against the woman. As Seán O’Shea reports, a large number of Toronto police officers stood by and watched as sheriffs sat surrounded by protesters.

Two Ontario sheriffs attempting to enforce an eviction order on an East York tenant sat barricaded in their cars instead as neighbours banded together to prevent the woman from being removed from her home.

More than a month after Ontario began to allow residential evictions again, this one didn’t go ahead as planned.

“Today was a success, the community came together, we blocked an eviction from happening, peacefully,” said Carly Tisdall, a local resident and member of the Goodwood Tenants’ Union, told Global News.

“Neighbours here don’t want evictions during a pandemic and housing crisis.”

But with two dozen or more residents surrounding vehicles around the noon hour and with 14 Toronto Police officers standing watch the eviction didn’t go ahead.

“This woman is not a scofflaw, not a person who wants to screw the landlord, she wants to pay but she lost income because of COVID,” said Rima Berns-McGown, MPP for Beaches-East York.

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David Frankel, a property manager for the apartment, told Global News in a statement the eviction “predates” the COVID-19 pandemic period and “has nothing to do with non-payment of rent.”

Read more: Ontario rent freeze could mean more evictions, critics say

“We cannot disclose detailed information regarding the situation. However, it should be noted that the tenancy termination order was issued on consent between the Landlord and Tenant (with guidance from legal counsel),” he wrote.

“While this case has nothing to do with non-payment, Ranee Management’s policy is to work with tenants on reasonable payment plans during COVID-19 and we will continue to do so.”

Betty, a building resident who said she has lived in the building since 1981 and didn’t want to provide her last name, said she supports the eviction.

Read more: Toronto homeowners fight to evict tenant ‘taking advantage’ of COVID-19

“The owners have a right to keep these buildings safe,” she said.

Sheriffs did not enforce the order on Monday, but they will likely come back and neighbours may also return to defend her.

“Landlords think their way of negotiating is by holding a gun to our heads and saying pay me all your money right now,” said Tisdall.

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“We’re saying we’re sick of that way of dealing.”